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Sage (Salvia): Folklore, Healing & Magickal Properties

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Written by: Tina Caro

I am sure you have heard about this herb before. Even if you did, let’s look at Sage Magical Properties.

Sage is one of the most powerful and beneficial herbs to purify and cleanse a place or a person from negative energies.

You might have seen it in some movie, or maybe you saw your grams using it! Linked to ancient traditions, sage is a great herb to have and use to create some magic.

Let’s learn more about this incredible herb.


Its uses span from cleansing rituals to attracting positivity and love spells.

To effectively cleanse negative energy, one should smudge with sage and pay attention to any sudden temperature changes.

Sage can be used to cleanse individuals, homes, animals, and objects, offering versatile protection and purification.

Its healing attributes extend to respiratory health and digestion, making it a valuable herb in both magickal and culinary applications.

What is Sage?

Sage (Salvia officinalis) is among the most popular aromatic herbs, and that was very popular in ancient times.

Its name is based on the word salvus, which means health.

Belonging to the Labiate family, sage is a plant that does not grow in the wild.

Unlike salvia pratensis or sage meadows, both varieties with similar properties that, as we can guess from the name, bloom spontaneously in meadows, pastures, and clearings.

Maybe you’ll find it interesting – over 900 species of sages worldwide!

Flowering occurs from May to June, and its flowers are of a color that varies between blue and violet.

However, the sage leaves are used in a silvery gray color, which can be used fresh or dried.

These appear thick, rough and wrinkled, giving a pleasant and delicious aroma to the touch, that is much appreciated in the kitchen.

Type of SageDescription
White SageA common variety of sage used for purification and cleansing rituals.
Blue SageA type of sage known for its calming and relaxing properties.
Desert SageSage native to desert regions, often used in smudging ceremonies.
Clary SageSage with a musky scent, often used for its therapeutic and aphrodisiac properties.
Spanish SageSage variant with a strong aroma, often used for spiritual and healing purposes.
Table 1: Types of Sage

Sage’s Magickal Origins

Sage owes its healing properties to the influence of Jupiter.

It is a plant to which considerable virtues have been attributed over time, even magickal, so much so that it is defined, in popular culture, as a plant of immortality and Salvia savior.

The Gauls believed that this shrub could destroy everything evil, and perhaps not everyone knows that the Druids prepared a beer with healing powers, using sage as a secret ingredient.

In ancient times, the magic power to break spells and for the spells was attributed to sage, and the Chinese believed that their leaves gave longevity.

According to the ancient theory of signatures, which sought similarities between the outward appearance of the plant and parts of the body, the Salvia, vaguely resembling a tongue, had the power to heal diseases of the mouth.

Since the Middle Ages it was used as a cicatrizing, and the women of the past, who had only the gifts of Mother Earth at their disposal to heal themselves and their beauty, used to rub a few sage leaves on their teeth, to make them white and sparkling.

Native Americans used it as a powerful exorcising tool and, combined with cedar branches, it is burned by shamans for various purposes such as driving away evil spirits, attracting “good” spirits to the ritual area or for trance works.

It has also been used as a sacred herb which women drank in tonics to get pregnant.

A extremely common and powerful plant could not go unnoticed in the history of humanity.

Some believed that sage was a sacred plant that would give them immortality, so much so that a medieval legend tells us, “Whoever cultivates sage in his garden, will have no reason to die.”

It is believed that sage was a plant that frogs, snakes and “witches” liked a lot. Therefore, people had to wash the plant very well before using it because leaves still had “poison” in them. That’s why it had to be ALWAYS planted next to the rue.

What is Sage Used For?

Sage is used in the magical world to foster wisdom, for healing and money spells, for protection and energy cleansing.

  • It is being used in bathwater or burning incense, to help you with clarity, rationality, and excellent solvency to solve problems and conflicting circumstances.
  • It provides discernment and mental clarity, so it is widely used in rituals where you want to know an answer or know a truth (or discover a lie).
  • It is very suitable to spray an office with sage tea so that all the members have the great mental clarity to work and face projects.
  • It is one of the natural herbs “anti-illusion” since it fosters the rationality of thought against the excessive expectation of illusions that can be vain or false.
  • It allows to distinguish them and opt for the most rational answer.

So you know, when you need clarity of thought to solve a difficult problem, take a bath with sage leaves or light a sage incense.

Here are a Some Magickal Tips and Tricks

  1. Native American shamans frequently burn dried sage stalks, thereby coming into contact with their spiritual guides and protective spirits.
  2. Sage leaves are used in countless money spells and protect against getting the evil eye. In this sense, carrying a small horn full of sage is recommended.
  3. A piece of sage root is placed under the bed to induce prophetic dreams.
  4. Sage has been used to achieve long life. This is achieved by eating it (a little) daily. However, to make this work properly, you need to consume it every day, only in the month of May.
  5. If you want to cut sage that’s growing in your garden, DO NOT do it. This brings bad luck. You have to find a stranger to do this job for you.
  6. If you want a wish to come true, write it on a sage leaf and hide it under your pillow. Sleep on it for three nights. If you dream once of what you want, your desire will materialize. If not, bury the sage so that it can’t cause harm.
Magickal UseDescription
PurificationSage is commonly used for cleansing and purifying spaces, objects, and energies.
ProtectionSage can be used for creating protective barriers and warding off negative energies.
DivinationSage is often used in divination rituals to enhance intuition and psychic abilities.
Ritual CleansingSage is employed in rituals to cleanse and prepare individuals before magickal work.
Spiritual ConnectionSage can aid in deepening spiritual connections and promoting meditation practices.
Table 2: Magickal Uses of Sage

How to Use Sage for Cleansing

It has been used for millennia by Native Americans. Still, it is today as it allows you to purify yourself from negative energies, purify the environment and objects, protect yourself from negativity, open your mind and make it quiet.

Let’s see then which are the best ways to activate sage and cleanse someone or some place.

How to Recognize if There is Negative Energy Nearby?

If when you light the white sage smudge, the smoke released is thin and weak, which means that the energy of the house is clean.

But if the smoke is thick and curved, the air is saturated with negativity and the sage will neutralize it.

If you have a problem with negativity, let smoke the place for an hour.

Try the next day again and notice the progress of the smoke, which should be more harmonious and delicate.

It can also be noted that in some places of the house or with specific people, smoking has a “negative outcome.” Basically, you won’t see results overnight.

In these cases, it will be necessary to purify more often.

Here’s an important rule when using sage.

According to Eileen Nauman author of the book “Sacred White Sage: A Way to Clear Negativity,” once the smudge is turned on, it should not be turned off.
The sage goes out by itself when it finishes its purification work. Never put it out with water.

You can find her books on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Here are different ways of using white sage that have different effects, but is always profoundly beneficial.

The more we are receptive and sensitive, the more we can perceive the help that this sacred plant can give.

How to Cleanse Yourself or a Loved One with Sage?

  • Take a smudge (so-called the intertwining leaves) of white sage, turn it on and then blow it until it begins to release its purifying smoke.Pass it along the whole body, starting from the toes on your feet.

    If you have a feather (of any bird as long as it is not synthetic, and even better if collected from the ground rather than taken directly from the poor bird), it is possible to “massage” the smoke all along the body.

    It is crucial to passing it over the top of the head.

    After five minutes, you should feel a greater sense of lightness that can mitigate or make headaches, nausea, nervousness, and general pain disappear.

  • Drink a mixture of white sage.Crumble three leaves into a cup, pour boiling water and wait 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, it is ready for you to drink.

    It is ideal when you have a fever, a bad mood, and feel that some negativity is around you.

  • The infusion of white sage is used in shamanic sweat huts to stimulate sweating and the expulsion of toxins.3 Add 20 grams of white sage leaves to the bath full of hot water. It’s a great way to cleanse the body.

How to Cleanse Your Home with Sage?

Pass smoke along the house’s walls, being careful not to skip the edges.

It is ideal when you are buying a home or if you have never done it.

Furthermore, lighting a smudge when meditating or relaxing is a great way to calm the mind and open up to the divine.

How to Cleanse Animals or Objects with Sage?

The smoke of white sage is a powerful purifier. Shamans use it to purify their ritual objects like pipes.

We can use them to purify the crystals and also our animal friends, being careful not to burn them.

sage smoke

How to Request Protection?

If you want to strengthen your intuition and personal energy and shield external influences, you can always carry some white sage leaves with you in your pocket or bag.

Shamans in their “medicine bag” always have white sage with them.

Spell to Attract Positivity and Love

Here’s a spell to attract positivity and love.

You need to crush a handful of sage and put what’s left in a bowl with 2 liters of water.

Leave it for nine days in the sun and take a bath with this mixture – from head to feet.

An Amulet for Wisdom

It is good to carry an amulet with sage in a red or violet bag to always have that mental clarity and wisdom in acting.

Combined with mint and five-weed grass in an amulet, it gives the wearer an image of leadership and wisdom.

It’s highly recommended for political leaders and people who must make difficult decisions as heads of companies, doctors, military, and judges.

How to Create a Herbal Candle?

Some herbal candles are made with compressed sage.

These candles are used to do quick cleanings, passing them around the person and praying for them.

I have made sage candles, and I can say they work great.

To make them, you need to collect fresh sage branches, because they don’t break.

You need to cut the hard parts of the stem and leave the tender ones aside.

You take three or four of these harder parts and tie them with a hemp thread. They need to dry face down in the shade.

When they are dry, they must be kept away from the sun and moisture.

They are fantastic for some quick magical works, and to burn as incense in case we do not have rods or cones.

Dawn’s Thoughts on Sage

The name Salvia derives from the Latin word Salveo, “to heal” or “to save” (more like, to salve, as in, apply a salve).

History and Folklore

It has long been used in healing. An old proverb says “why should a man die who has sage in his garden?”.

It was used in the Middle Ages to treat fevers, liver disease and epilepsy. In England, the tea drunk as a healthful tonic. It was also believed to strengthen the memory.

An old English custom states that eating Sage every day in May will grant immortality. It was also said that a woman who ate sage cooked in wine would never be able to conceive and its fresh leaves were said to cure warts.

It is said that where sage grows well in the garden, the wife rules and that sage will flourish or not depending on the success of the business of the household.

During the Middle Ages, sage was used to mask the taste of rancid meat. Perhaps its antibacterial action also protected people from dying of rancid meat…

The Romans regarded sage quite highly and much sacrifice and ceremony was associated with its harvest. They believed it stimulated the brain and memory and used it to clean their teeth.

The Dutch in the 17th century traded Sage for tea with the Chinese.


This lovely perennial enjoys sun and well-drained soil. Keep fertilizer to a minimum. Most varieties are winter hardy. Sow seeds up to two weeks before the last danger of frost. Plants grown from cuttings do better than those grown from seed.

Russian sage ads an airy cloud of purple to the garden.

Common sage (garden sage, culinary sage) gets woody and bushy and is really neat-looking. Give it its own corner of the garden because it will take over.

White sage grows only in warm, arid regions. It requires low humidity and a great deal of sun and will not survive a winter frost so it must be grown indoors in northern regions, though it is not fond of pots.

This herb has been over-collected in the wild, so if you use it and you can grow it; do.

Harvesting & Storage

Harvest sage lightly for the first year to allow the plant to get established. Then large bunches can be harvested and hung to dry.

The flavor is better if you freeze sage rather than dry it, though it does retain its flavor well when dried. Store dried in a sealed glass container in a cool, dark area.

Prune garden sage after it flowers and then don’t harvest anymore until spring so the plant has a month or two to recover and survive the frost.

Magical Attributes

Sage is masculine in nature and associated the element of air and the planet Jupiter.

Sage is sacred to the Greek Zeus and Roman Jupiter. It is also a symbol of the Virgin Mary.

White sage Salvia apiana is sacred in many Shamanic and Native American belief systems and is used for smudging, and other, ceremonies to purify the body. 

Smudge sticks made of white sage are often found in New Age shops and kits are heavily marketed to modern magical practitioners.

Unfortunately, white sage can be difficult to grow in captivity outside of its native range, so is largely wild-crafted. This threatens native populations which are sacred to Native Americans. White sage is not part of European-based traditions and we really don’t need it.

Our European spiritual ancestors burned a lot of different herbs in their practices, but white sage was not among them. If you feel the need to use sage, garden sage is a suitable substitute.

Indeed, most Salvia species can be burned by the non-indigenous witch and we can leave white sage to those to whom it is truly sacred. If you must have it, try to grow it yourself; buying and selling sacred things is disrespectful.

Sage is used in magical workings for immortality, longevity, wisdom, protection and the granting of wishes.

Sage is also believed to help alleviate the sorrow of the death of a loved one.

To make a wish, write your wish on a sage leaf and sleep with it under your pillow for three days and then bury it.

Add sage to mojo bags to promote wisdom and to overcome grief.

Burn sage at funeral and remembrance ceremonies to help relieve the grief of the mourners.

Household Use

Sage makes a nice rinse for dark hair.

Sage’s attractive leaves hold their shape and fragrance well when dried and are an attractive addition to dried arrangements and potpourri.

Store dried sage in the same place as you store your potatoes to help them keep longer.

Healing Attributes

Sage tea has antiseptic qualities and makes a good gargle for sore throats.

Sage may boost insulin action, and therefore, a daily cup of tea may be helpful for those with diabetes. Use one or two teaspoons of dried sage leaves to one cup of boiling water.

Healing PropertyDescription
Anti-inflammatorySage has anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce inflammation in the body.
Digestive AidSage is known to support digestion and can help alleviate digestive issues.
AntimicrobialSage has antimicrobial properties and can be used to fight against bacteria and fungi.
Respiratory SupportSage can help soothe respiratory conditions such as coughs, colds, and sore throats.
Hormonal BalanceSage is believed to have hormonal balancing effects and may be beneficial for women’s health.
Table 3: Healing Properties of Sage

Culinary Use

Only Salvia officianalis is suitable for culinary use

Sage aids in the digestion of fatty foods and is therefore good for seasoning meats, especially pork. It’s also famously useful for stuffing poultry. It is also awesome in various bean and pork dishes, like split pea soup and vegetarian bean dishes.

Sage blossoms are good in salads or floated on top of soups.

Pineapple sage is good in fruit drinks, salads, and ham.

Common sage blends well with the flavors of balsamic vinegar, basil, bay laurel, black pepper, cream cheese, garlic, lavender, lemon, mushrooms, onions, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and red wine.

Additional Notes

The most commonly used sage in spiritual practice, white sage, grows only in the American Southwest and can be very difficult to grow indoors in other areas.

Rumors say that it is becoming rare due to overcollection but conflicting information says that it grows like crazy out there.

You can get ethically sourced white sage, just ask questions. In my experience, garden sage works just as well and grows quite easily just about anywhere. If you have ethical concerns, it is a great option.


1. I am aware that there are reports by various bloggers that common sage is somehow more dangerous to burn than white sage but I have not been able to find anything but hearsay on this. That is, I have found no scientific evidence to back it up and I suspect this idea was first put forth by a purveyor of white sage smudge sticks. If you know otherwise, please provide me with sources. All smoke is dangerous to inhale and you should always use good ventilation.

Tina Caro

Tina Caro is a witch with more than 10 years of experience, a yogi, an astrologer, and a passionate supporter of all things holistic! She’s also an owner of the website Magickal Spot where she discusses a variety of her favorite topics.

Magickal Spot has helped thousands of readers worldwide, and she’s personally worked with hundreds of clients and helped them manifest desires to have a happier and more abundant life.

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